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Gayle in MD
07-26-2011, 10:08 PM
George Bush owns this deficit
Useless news alert: Tax cuts and war contribute more to our burgeoning debt than Obama's new policies
By Andrew Leonard

Talk about your left-wing blogger link bait! On Sunday, the New York Times published a chart demonstrating the relative contributions to the deficit made by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Short version: The total cost of new policies initiated during the administration of George Bush: $5.07 trillion. Barack Obama: $1.44 trillion.


http://www.salon.com/news/budget_showdow...wns_the_deficit (http://www.salon.com/news/budget_showdown/index.html?story=/tech/htww/2011/07/25/george_bush_owns_the_deficit)

Bush's tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the obvious big-ticket items. The tax cuts, in particular, are the structural-deficit-gift that keeps on giving. As the New York Times observes, if all of the Bush tax cuts "expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels."

Or, as James Fallows puts it more acidly, "It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts.

But this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, news. Nor is there any evidence that promulgating this information has any effect on the political process or on popular opinion. And there's a very good reason for this: The debt ceiling is not a fight about the deficit. It's a fight over power and the size of government.

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"Utter incoherence" becomes entirely coherent when one considers that Republican strategy is founded on two things: neutering Obama and rolling back the welfare state. Tax cuts are always good, because eventually they starve the beast. That's how to make sense of the seemingly contradictory actions of a party that just eight months ago voted for a package of tax cuts raising the annual deficit by about $200 billion turning around and suddenly declaring that the deficit is the greatest existential threat the nation faces. How else can we explain Republicans' turning down huge deficit reduction deals, and then settling on a strategy -- a short-term debt ceiling hike -- whose only real attraction is that it directly contravenes the president's oft-expressed desire for a long-term hike? The point is not to fix government finances; <span style='font-size: 20pt'>it's to deny Obama anything he can call a victory while at the same time slashing the size of government so as to ensure that rich people pay low taxes.</span><span style='font-size: 20pt'>An infinite number of charts pointing out who caused the deficit will never change that dynamic</span>

Gayle in MD
07-26-2011, 10:44 PM
Harold Meyerson
Opinion Writer

The GOP holds out for more on the debt standoff

To elucidate the mysteries of Washington — in particular, why House Republicans, having compelled the Democrats to craft a Republican-in-all-but-name plan to get a deal on raising the debt ceiling, still don’t want a deal — we turn to the Fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.

A scorpion meets a frog on the bank of a stream and asks the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion answers, “Because if I do, I’ll drown along with you.” So the frog, bowing to the logic of the scorpion’s answer, sets out across the stream with the scorpion on his back. About midstream, the scorpion stings the frog, who is paralyzed and starts to sink — as does the scorpion. “Why?” the dying frog asks. “Because it’s my nature,” the scorpion replies.


Refusing to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling has cost Republicans in the court of public opinion. Virtually every poll shows that the public would blame them more than they would President Obama or congressional Democrats if the government does, in fact, default. While a default would doubtless wound Obama, as it very likely would hurt the U.S. and global economies, any rational calculation of self-interest would surely compel the GOP to come to terms. That’s why the financial markets, which base their calculations on the assumption that people — certainly, major groups — act in their own self-interest, have believed that a deal would eventually be struck.

But the frog assumed the scorpion would act in his own self-interest, too.

Now, in some standoffs, acting with apparent indifference toward the disastrous consequences that loom — behaving, that is, as though one is bereft of rational calculation — can be the rational thing to do. It may make your opponent concede more than he would otherwise. The GOP’s intransigence in the face of one concession after another from the president — abandoning, successively, his party’s insistence that tax increases should be a substantial part of any fiscal fix, then that Social Security and Medicare should not be touched, and finally that tax increases should be part of the deal at all — has certainly given them more substantive victories than virtually anyone anticipated. But of course, few anticipated how incapable Obama would be of framing the larger debate, and how willing he’s been to jettison core Democratic positions in his bid to win back the support of independent voters.

The most recent Democratic proposal in play, from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, meets the Republican right’s long-standing demands for a deal that reduces federal spending by the amount that the debt ceiling would be raised, and that contains no tax increases whatsoever. It has won the backing of Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader and the de facto leader of congressional liberals, who began her statement of support with the words, “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity.”

Even if Republicans have painted themselves into a political corner, they have also painted the Democrats into a substantive corner — though they couldn’t have done it without Obama’s assistance. By striking a deal with Reid, they may escape their political corner, leaving Democrats stuck with a deal that undermines their party’s ideological foundations.

But is that even what the Tea Party Republicans (and, these days, all Republican elected officials are either in the Tea Party or afraid of it) really want? Many of the Tea Party House freshmen clearly see their role as voting for their Ayn Rand fantasies and then going home. With the House having passed the “cut, cap and balance” bill (which would decimate entitlements) on a near-party-line vote last week, “what else is there?” New York Republican Michael Grimm wondered, as The Post reported Monday. “At this point, honestly, I don’t think there’s any more the House can do.” Pennsylvania freshman Mike Kelly echoed Grimm’s sentiments: “The House has done everything it could do,” he said. “Now, what’s the holdup?”

Apparently, House Republicans are holding out for a formal surrender ceremony. Speaker John Boehner has come up with a counterproposal to Reid’s — a plan that isn’t all that different substantively but that Boehner titled “The Two-Step Approach to Hold President Obama Accountable.” For many Republicans, even this doesn’t go far enough. Republicans apparently won’t be satisfied until Obama takes responsibility for all of the national debt, the Bush tax cuts and the Oklahoma heat wave, admits he’s not a citizen and goes back to Kenya.

They may harm themselves and the nation by holding out for that deal. Like the scorpion, though, it’s their nature.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/t...ry.html?hpid=z4 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-holds-out-for-more-on-the-debt-standoff/2011/07/26/gIQAHPDdbI_story.html?hpid=z4)

07-27-2011, 03:27 AM

<span style='font-size: 23pt'>I WANT MY RINO'S BACK!!!</span>